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Question and Answer

I have a close family member (not a spouse) who has treated me badly most of my life, making me feel inadequate, unloved, and insecure. It took me years to work through the damage and come to forgiveness and letting go of the hurt. The person who hurt me has never admitted wrong even when confronted. In fact, she has suggested it was my problem. I accepted this and tried for a while to stay in touch, but I am becoming reluctant to take what feels like abuse. What is the Christian thing to do?
This is one of those heartbreaking situations that are too much a part of our fallen existence. One of the worst things sin does to the spirit is to harden it, making someone unable to hear the truth (see Zech. 7:12; Matt. 13:15). First of all, that you have worked through your injuries and come to forgiveness of the offender is the grace of God at work in your life. I also respect your tenacity about the relationship. A time comes to walk away, however, not as a way to be manipulative but in order to hold her accountable for her behavior. Your sincere forgiveness of this family member does not require you to excuse bad behavior. You do not have to tolerate sin or soothe it by a false acceptance. That is participating in deception. Although you might choose to stay away from this person, do continue to pray for her, asking God to bring truth into her life in a way that will reach her.

BY Dr. Rosalie de Rosset

Dr. Rosalie de Rosset has been teaching at Moody Bible Institute in the Communications Department for over five decades. She is occasionally featured on Moody Radio. Rosalie is a published author, respected speaker, and talented writer. She lives on the northside of Chicago, a city she enjoys for its natural beauty and multi-faceted art offerings.

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